Devastating floods in uttrakhand once again draw our attention to the gross negligence

Devastating floods in uttrakhand once again draw our attention to the gross negligence we commit towards preparing better to deal with such tragedies. The state administration must be complimented for evacuating more than fifty thousand people already to safer places. They need all the support. But we must also learn from such disasters to prevent or minimise the loss of life and property and of course the environment.

What are the immediate lessons:

a) when rains started, forewarning to pilgrims at lower elevation not to proceed further was not issued. This led a lot of yatris travellers to move ahead and getting stuck. The local communities helped the stranded people a lot but they have not been trained to do this better.

Pakistan bears brunt of Iranian earthquake, 13 killed

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake that struck a border area of southeast Iran killed at least 13 people in neighboring Pakistan on Tuesday, destroying hundreds of houses and shaking buildings as far away as India and Gulf Arab states.

Communications with the area, a sparsely populated desert and mountain region, were largely cut and hindered preliminary reports of casualties in Iran. An Iranian provincial governor later said there were no reports of deaths there so far.

The epicenter was far from any of Iran's nuclear facilities but the quake, the second large one in Iran in a week, served as a reminder of how tremor-prone the region is, a factor behind concerns about safety at Iran's only nuclear power plant.

Major earthquake rocks North India

A major earthquake that originated on the Iran-Pakistan border jolted North India on Tuesday afternoon, sending people running out of their homes for safety.

Iran's Press TV reported at least 40 deaths due to the quake, while unnamed officials said the country was expecting hundreds of dead.

A government officials told a news agency that "it was the biggest earthquake in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead".

As per the US Geological Survey, the quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale had its epicentre on the Iran-Pakistan border at a depth of 15.2 kilometres. It was located 86 kilometres east-southeast of the Iranian city of Khash.

Magnitude 6.8 quake in India, several dead

Disaster Management Information System Forum

"Cracks have developed in some buildings in Gangtok. Most phone lines are down and there is no electricity now. People have come out on the street," said Gangtok resident Bobby Dahal.

"It is too early to ascertain any damage. We are trying to get in touch with the state government of Sikkim to know if they need any help from us," Sujata Saunail, joint secretary of he National Disaster Management Authority, told Reuters.

Sikkim is India's least populous state, located in the Himalayas between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

Learning to cope with disasters: We can certainly do better: By Prof. Anil K Gupta

When earthquake hit Gujarat on 26 January 2001and more than 20000 people died, we thought as a society we would learn to cope with disaster better.   It seems that 20000 lives were not enough of a price to pay for shaking the bureaucracy and civil society to learn to cope with disasters with greater efficiency.   Most disasters after the first 24 hours assume more or less typical characteristics in which the problems can be anticipated and response system can be put in place.   We had developed a year later a Disaster Management Information System (www.sristi.org/dmis.html).   The idea was that civil society volunteers will provide information about what kind of support they can extend (material, professional, financial, technological, infrastructural, etc.), within what range of distance from their residence, and whether they will like their details to be put on the website.   For instance, about 118 ham radio operators in Gujarat had agreed to put their information through their associations in the database.   They can be directly contacted and their services requested for the purpose.  The question is, were they contacted in the recent disaster in the south India, perhaps not.   Similarly, transporters, crane owners, hardware stockists who have concrete cutters or other devices to clear the debris, medical professionals, mobile x-ray machines, mobile clinics, etc., are well known equipments and services needed in the hour of emergency.   We know that water bodies often get affected adversely and fresh water becomes a necessity.  In some cases, the water storage structures were damaged.   When electricity was resumed, the tubewells would work but where would one store the water.  

Information about timber-constructed housing

Dear Anil, dear Devadas,

I received your email regarding request for urgent earthquake relief efforts. Thank you very much for the steps you undertake.

Let me provide you with some information about timber-constructed housing products which might become of interest for those who are engaged in drafting mid-term and long-term relief effort activities.

In this email, I am attaching a brochure informing about a housing-container system offered by Timber Construction Services Germany GmbH (TCS). Apart from the current earthquake disaster in the Kashmir-region, TCS ask me to disseminate information on its products and services of earthquake-resistant timber constructions including its housing-container system. As you may know, timber constructed buildings provide the highest level of earthquake resistence and safety. In addition, the insulation effect of timber constructed houses results in an excellent interior climate of the house over both the hot and the cold season - compared with traditional construction styles such as bricks and/or concrete.

Mail from Devadas

Earthquake

"PLEASE help us. We're hungry, outside without any shelter, its raining, we're cold" - A desperate plea from a young child who had lost 15 relatives, Hope that you have gone through Prof Anil Gupta's message regarding the J&K earth quake relief (JAKEQR) work.

As you know, the winter is fast approaching Kashmir. The cold has already set in. Many houses and schools have crumbled. Our brethren are pleading for help.

Lets help them!!

Two PGP2s -Javed and Suresh Chand- will be leaving for Uri (Kashmir) on Sunday, early morning. We are planning to send some medicines and extend financial support through them. We should be able to mobilise some resources for the same by then. We are trying to get the medical supplies-antibiotics, antipyretics and painkillers-from some of the major pharma companies in and around Ahmedabad. We would also be contacting companies in the area of marketing packaged food products . We are also trying to get help from sectors such as logistics for transportation of the collected materials.

Latest situation:

Earthquake

We contacted Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed, Chairperson, NGO coordination federation In Srinagar and ascertained the latest situation. 
We also contacted Dr Parry whose colleagues just returned from Uri region, one of the most affected areas.

The address of both are given below along with their phone numbers so that those desirous of reaching them directly can contact them.

Mr. Imtiyaz Hussain, 
Chairman & Chief Executive, 
The NGOs Co-ordination Federation (J&K),
The Director,
The NGOs Co-ordination Federation December 2003(J&K),
Usman Complex, Solina, 
Srinagar - 190 009
Tel: 
Office:
0194-2313667  
Mobile: 09419017329 
Fax: 0194-2441085

Dr. D. Parry, Director, 
Entrepreneurship Development Institute, 
3rd Floor, IMPA Complex M.A.Road, 
Srinagar - 190 001
Tel: 
Office: 0194-2483924
Mobile: 09419012829

Our students at IIMA have taken an intitaive for providing both short term and long term relief to the victims. Pl. see the mail of Devadas ( 4devadas@iimahd.ernet.in ), IIMA's Student Activity Coordinator. The students will appreciate any idea or initiatives for strengthening their efforts.